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December, 2016


The Art and Science of Time Travel

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Imagine you had a time machine.  This is not so fantastic as it seems.  I’m not talking about H. G. Wells or a radioactive DeLorean powered by a flux capacitor going 88 MPH  (that would be a pretty cool ride).  Rather, I would argue that faith in the birth of Jesus, the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, takes us back to our past, teaches how to live well in the present, and hinges our hopes on the future when he returns.

The Word made flesh was but born in time 2,016 years ago on Christmas.  To have faith in God makes us sharers of his power, equipped to embark upon a magical mystery tour of the past, the present, and the future.  Thus we dwell with God who has pitched his tent among us.

Scientifically speaking, time travel is possible, but presently we lack the technology.  Stephen J. Hawking, the world’s foremost physicist, affirms that time travel will one day be accomplished.  A quadriplegic confined to a wheel chair, Hawking can speak only by using a computer.  His physical condition hinders him in space but not in time; in fact, it enables him to dream thrilling scientific theorem.  “If I had a time machine,” he says, “I’d visit Marilyn Monroe in her prime and drop in on Galileo as he turned his telescope to the heavens.”

What is Christmas if not a remembrance of things past, celebrated in the present and providing hope for the future?  The Scriptures proclaim a breathtaking tapestry, a living Word that whispers in our hearts even as the prophets and evangelists preach the ear-splitting truth in time for posterity.  Something definitive has happened in history, Opus Dei, “the work of God.”  The miracle of the birth of God is a gift to be accepted by people of good will, universally: those who have gone before us; ourselves today; and future generations.   

These are the facts: Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem into a poor family.  Encouraged by an angel the protoevangelist shepherds confirmed this when they stooped to enter the stable.  Eyewitnesses, they preached the gospel that Christ the Lord was born.  Throughout the ages Christianity has never grown tired of singing the refrain of the shepherds.  It goes a long way back, this Story of God.  Once upon a time when there was no time the Word was made flesh and lived among us.  An accurate rendering of that statement as written in Greek by Saint John is more concrete, literally, “he pitched his tent among us.”

The harmony of the cosmos that could help Professor Hawking get a date with Marilyn Monroe is not an impersonal force, like that of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. God is master and commander of space and time though he exists outside these dimensions.  There never was a was when He wasn’t.   

God created everything out of nothing.  You don’t need to be Albert Einstein to believe that God turned himself into a human being to live with us, to be closer to his people, and to display the great love he has for us.  We who are willing can obtain nearness to our creator.  By refusing him, as many did from the very day he was born until he suffered death on a cross, we deprive ourselves of his power, lack the ability to clarify our lives in the past, the present, and the future.  We peer only through a dark window.

We belong to a royal family ruled by a Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace, who long ago forged his plan that we might know him.  To know him is to love him and to love ourselves and others in return.  All you need is love.

I have become the curator of my family’s collection of photo albums.  When I look through them I notice how many of the photographs were taken at births of babies, at baptisms, weddings, Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July.  These pictures existed before the “selfie”.  Memory and imagination enables me to revisit good and bad times, to remind myself of who I am and where I came from and to conjecture who I one day will become.  That is how I practice the art and science of time travel.  This writer considers Divine Revelation to be superior to the oracles of the prophets, and the message of the angel to the shepherds.  Not even Doc Brown could dream that up.

Now in another time’s forgotten space a certain writer needed money to pay off his credit card bills that he maxed out on a Christmas past.  Charles Dickens penned a short novel, A Christmas Carol, which concerns the miser Ebenezer Scrooge.  Scrooge was the wealthiest man in London yet was angry and intense.  Every night after work he pried his shoulders from his earlobes with a crowbar.  Humbug!

Then the Lord God sent three spirits to encourage Ebenezer to amend his life.   One spirit reminded him of his lonely childhood and how he loved money more than his fiancé.  The second spirit showed him how his actions negatively impacted the lives of others—namely his scrivener Bob Cratchet.  But when Scrooge saw his name and date—December 25, 1843—on a gravestone, Niagara Falls rained down his cheeks.  How blessed he was to be rocketed into the fourth dimension—that which makes time travel possible.  Ebenezer Scrooge, who had many possessions, came to believe that you never see a U-Haul following a hearse.

The great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote that God is always in the moment.  God is the same in 2016 as He was in 1916.  Have you ever heard of the Christmas Truce of 1914?  It happened on Christmas day more than one hundred years ago on a battlefield in France during the First World War.  Trench warfare pitted English and French battalions against the Germans, each side firing at one another and lobbing grenades from forty or fifty yards away.

In between the trenches was the “no-man’s” land, an entanglement of razor wire and littered with dead soldiers rotting in the frozen mud.  Isaiah prophesied: “For every boot that trampled in battle, every cloak rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the flames.”   Well the Allied and Axis forces did that to survive.

Then a miracle happened. Germans began to carol.  The English and the French applauded.  They hoisted signs wishing one another Merry Christmas. The Germans trimmed a Christmas tree and by dawn soldiers on both sides laid down their weapons, disobeying the orders of their superiors.

They shared the Christmas packages they received—coffee, wine, chocolate, and cigarettes.  A German entertained everyone by juggling.  On the battlefield he wasn’t much to look at but he was famous before the war.  They struck up a soccer match; the Allied soldiers let the Germans win 4-1.  It was as if, on Christmas God was born in the battlefield during the “War to end all wars,” same as he was in 6 BC and in this church right now.  The Prince of Peace pitched his tent in no-Man’s land.   

On that most holy night, a Savior was born—Wonder-Counselor; God-Hero; Father-Forever; Prince-of-Peace.  Salvation is worldwide, universal, beginning with the one who has no beginning or end but who dwells on earth with us.  If God could save Ebenezer Scrooge then anybody can be saved.       

Back to the original question.  Is time travel possible?  I think so.  It is a matter of perspective.  Every step we take in the present carries us further into the future as we leave behind the past.  We can choose the path taken by the shepherds who heeded the message of the angel and sought the newborn king.  Some of us aren’t sure which direction to follow.  So we hang around, time ill-spent.  Worst is to walk away unconvinced that Jesus Christ was born, yesterday, today, and for all time.  We choose what direction we take.  Either way, time takes time.

When Green Means Slow in the Snow

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December 7, 2016 — New green flashing lights are being incorporated on winter maintenance vehicles in Michigan this winter. And while motorists are used to green meaning go – in this case, green means slow down.

In an effort to reduce crashes, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and several Michigan county road commissions and municipalities will be using green and amber lights that may be flashing, rotating or oscillating on 70 percent of their winter maintenance vehicles.

“Our visual system would be more attracted to a bright green light versus a bright white flashing light in a heavy snowstorm,” said Dr. Bernie Tekiele of the Michigan Eye Institute. “Our visual system is piqued to be sensitive to the green/yellow spectrum.”

Studies suggest that humans can differentiate more shades of green than any other color. Better visibility with green lights means safer roads for winter maintenance workers and motorists. The Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) has been piloting the green lights for the past two years with great success.

“We haven’t had any rear-end accidents with the green lights on the trucks that we’ve had for the past two years and that’s what we’re really trying to eliminate,” said Jerry Byrne, KCRC deputy managing director. “Folks slow down and don’t rear-end the backs of the trucks. We’ve had injury incidents in the past, so our goal is to spend a little money to save the number of accidents.”

As the lights on trucks are replaced, the new green lenses are being incorporated.

“The cost, really, to the state is just the lens on the back of a light. It’s small. Something less than $100 per truck,” said Mark Geib, MDOT engineer of Operations Field Services. “So, since we put lights on anyway, in time there’s really going to be no additional cost to speak of.”

Wider use of the green lights is a result of legislation sponsored by Rep. Rob VerHeulen of Walker that amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to allow for the use of the color green on maintenance vehicles.

A video about the changes can be found on MDOT’s YouTube channel at Additional information is also available in an infographic available online at A media kit featuring footage of snowplows with the new green lights in action, along with soundbites from Mark Geib, MDOT engineer of Operations Field Services, can be downloaded at:

Community Angel Tree Program Makes Christmas Brighter for GL Families

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Grass Lake is “A Great Place to Call Home” and the community Angel Tree is yet another example of why this is true. This past Wednesday,  the Grass Lake United Methodist Church and other community churches distributed gifts and boxes of food

The Angel Tree program started approximately 25 years ago according to coordinator Jan Chapel. The Angel Tree program is a “real community event” said Chapel.

The coordination starts in October. In late November, Angel Trees are placed throughout the community. Each angel describes a specific need for a family member in Grass Lake. Adults receive 1 present. Children receive 1 toy and 1 article of clothing. Each family also receives a box of food, a bible and a cooked ham. Additionally, they will receive a direct utility credit to help pay their Consumer’s Energy bill.

This year’s Angel Tree was “awesome” said Karen Slattery. The program was able to help 19 families this year. All but two of the angels were picked up and returned by the community. Grass Lake United Methodist Church members shopped for the remaining two angels.

“It takes a village..” or in our case, a township to make this program successful. “There has been a great outpouring of support this year” said Yvonne Johnson as they organized the church pews Wednesday morning.

Ms. Chapel said donations came from local churches, the schools, businesses, the fire department and residents. The Grass Lake United Methodist Church used proceeds from their annual Harvest Dinner to help purchase supplies and utility credits. The Grass Lake Fire Department donated toys they collected as part of the Breakfast with Santa. The Grass Lake Middle School and the Senior Center held a food drive to collect food for the Angel Tree program.

Ms. Chapel wanted to thank everyone for their generosity, especially the businesses and churches that helped support the program:

Federated Church of Grass Lake, Grass Lake Assembly of God, St Jacob Lutheran Church, Family Worship Center, Grass Lake United Methodist Church, Frank’s Shop-Rite, Comerica Bank, Ryan’s Restaurant, Barney’s Family Diner,  Grass Lake Community Pharmacy, Kelly Express, KBS Hair Designs, Grass Lake Senior Center and The Grass Lake Times.

100 Years Ago

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The Grass Lake Farmers’ Club will meet at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Dickman on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1916. A thanksgiving dinner will be served. At least we expect you to be thankful for it. Thanksgiving quotations will be given and music appropriate for this theme, followed by two papers, “Why Observe the Day” by Mrs. E.W. Hobart; also selected readings. The last on the program will be an experience meeting. Come everybody and tell of  your success or failures.

Clara Hewlett, who was severely burned some months ago and has been slowly recovering at the hospital in Ann Arbor, is now able to wheel herself about in a chair and will soon be able to come home.

Applications for the 1917 registration under the motor vehicle law will be received after Nov. 1st. Blanks will not be sent to those registered this year. A large list of dealers and garages covering the entire state has been formulated and a supply of blanks that already have been sent to them. The County Clerks have also been furnished with a supply.

Alice Crafts has a Halloween party for the pupils in her room and the children had a happy afternoon.

Mrs. Clare Shaler who has been operated on for an affection of the nose and throat, is improving. (As stated before, I type the articles as they are printed in the old  papers. So, did Mrs. Shaler suffer from an infection, or an affection?)

Mrs. Susie Hines has accepted the position of matron of the free kindergarten on South Mechanic street in Jackson.

P.S. Willis has improved his country home by the addition of a beautiful stone porch.

Mr. Thos. Durbin is still picking strawberries from his patch and they are fine ripe ones.

Mr. Claude Perkins of Jackson has purchased the Grass Lake Laundry and is now prepared to do first class work.

Mr. Charles Walker fell from a high ladder while painting at the home of Clyde Lockwood and injured himself so severely that he was taken to the hospital in Jackson.

Mr. Arthur Ostrander is under Dr. McColgan’s care having had the misfortune to fall from an apple tree and break three ribs.

Republicans Take Notice: The Republican Club of Grass Lake Township will hold a Luncheon and Smoker at the Town Hall, Thursday evening, Nov. 2. You are most cordially invited to come and lunch and a good cigar and listen to some good speeches. Bring a friend with you. Signed–C.B. Wilcox, Pres.; Frank Shelly, Sec’y; Henry Mellencamp, Treas.

Auction!!! The undersigned will sell at Public Auction on the premises one mile east of Michigan Center on the Boland Line, just east of overhead bridge, on Thursday , January 9, 1916, Commencing at 1 o’clock sharp, the following property:

Horses, Cattle, Hogs, Etc.—One dark bay mare 14 years old, wt 1000 lbs; 1 bay horse, wt 1200 lbs; 1 cow 10 yrs old, 1 heifer 17 mos. old; 1 heifer calf 5 mos. old; 1 Jersey brood sow, 9 Jersey pigs, 8 weeks old, 2 shoats, 4 mos. old; Black Minorca hens, geese and ducks.

Gathered by Linda Lockwood Hutchinson.

100 Years Ago in Grass Lake

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Obituary—Ora Franklin Barnes

Ora Franklin Barnes, son of Charles A. and Sarah E. Barnes, who was born at St. Francis, Kansas, Dec. 17, 1888 and died at Grass Lake, Sept. 2, 1916, being 27 years, 8 months and 15 days. Early in life he came with his parents to Oakwood, Ohio, where he lived nearly all his life; it was here where his mother passed to the spirit land when he was a small boy.

In April of this year he came to live in Grass Lake, making his home with his parents on Church street. When he came to visit his parents it was with the intention of taking a rest until he should recover from a severe cold that he had taken a few weeks previous to his coming home. But in spite of all that medicine and devoted loving nursing could do, it grew worse, developing into tuberculosis. His death was untimely for he passed away just as he was coming into his prime young manhood, like the flower that is appreciated most when its bloom is most beautiful and fragrant because it is full, so he in the full tide of life drooped and died. He leaves to mourn his death besides his parents one brother and four sisters and a host of friends. He was a member of the I.O.O.F. at Oakwood, Ohio.

Subscribers to the Grass Lake News

On account of the rise in price of everything used in connection with the making of a newspaper almost all papers have raised the subscription price to $1.50  or more. We do not propose at present to raise the price of this paper, but we must insist on the subscriptions now due being paid. There is nearly $500.00 now due on subscriptions which should be paid in the next 30 days.

Look at the label on your paper and if your subscription is due please attend to it at once. Unless this is done we will be compelled to raise the subscription price because of the great advance in costs. Read the following convincing facts:

First—The price of inks has increased 75 per cent or more, owing to the increased cost of coloring material.

Second—The price of paper advanced 50 per cent and more, owing to the scarcity of raw materials and of coloring matter.

Third—The cost of supplies and type has advanced 50 per cent or more due to the increased cost of metal.

Fourth—The price of engraving materials has advanced 200 per cent and more, due to the fact that many of the chemicals are manufactured in Germany and that there is an ever-increasing demand in belligerent countries for copper and zinc. Engraving materials include copper, zinc, iodide and iodine. Local and Personal

A watermelon social was held at the Baptist church Tuesday evening which was greatly enjoyed by a large crowd.

Frank Shelly, Mart Rohrer, Floyd Mellencamp, Harry Worden and Walter Clark motored to Detroit Wednesday and saw the great game between Detroit and Boston

100 Years Ago is gathered by Linda Lockwood Hutchinson.

Grass Laker Gets Promotion

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The Grass Lake branch of Comerica Bank has a familar face as its new branch manager. Jessy Thomson was promoted to First Level Manager of the Grass Lake branch after Jill Patterson’s promotion to Assistant Vice President at the Brooklyn branch of Comerica earlier this year.

Jessy has been with Comerica for the past 6 years, starting out in East Jackson as summer help and moving through the ranks before coming to Grass Lake 2 years ago.

Jessy, who married husband Dakota in April of this year in Jamaica, lives in Grass Lake. “I live here. I love getting to know everybody” she told me from her office last week.

A Michigan Center High School graduate, which she was unsure should be included because of the rivalry, graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration.

She said the Grass Lake Branch is “healthy and strong” when asked how the Grass Lake branch was in light of Comerica’s recent announcment closing numerous Michigan branches. “Grass Lake is growing, which helps our branch continue to grow, both in residential and retail” she said.

“I want to make sure we maintain relationships with our customers and stay active in the community” she added. Comerica participates as much as possible in numerous community events including the Spring Expo, Festival of Tables, Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing supporting Youth Recreation, the chili cook-off and Angel Tree program she rattled off the top of her head. “I may not have remembered all the events we try and participate in.”

Jessy has a dog, “her baby” a 3 year old pekingese pomeranian named Gizmo. In their spare time, Jessy and husband Dakota like boating and swimming. We “are always on the lake or working on our house” when asked what they do in their free time.

Regulars Eva, Laura and Susan are joined by new hire Sonja Maull, who is taking Jessy’s previous position.

“You never know who you are going to meet” she said while smiling.

Next time you are downtown, stop in and congratulate Jessy.

Sheriff’s Department Debuts New Website and Tools

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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Dept has been busy updating technology this past month. The updates began with a new website design.

The new and improved website has been redesigned with all new features, forms, event calendar and information. “The new website is designed so you can obtain what you need from the Sheriff’s Office without the drive.” Another new feature of the website is its responsive design, meaning that it will work with both mobile devices as well as traditional browsers.

Available on the new site are:

Private Property Traffic Crash Forms

Pistol Sales Records

Request for Documents & Reports

House Vacation Watch Forms

Disability Form

Traffic Enforcement Requests

Concealed Pistol License Applications

Traffic Crash data for Jackson County

and much more

House Watch

The Jackson County Office of the Sheriff offers Vacation Security Checks to all Jackson County residents living outside the City of Jackson. While you are away on vacation, deputies will periodically stop by your home to check for open doors, broken windows or any other suspicious circumstances. This is another added security precaution you can utilize to safeguard your possessions and assure your peace of mind while you are on vacation. This is a free, but invaluable service provided by the Jackson County Office of the Sheriff to the citizens of the County.

Disability Form

Emergency Response Information for Individuals with a Disability to be used by first responders to assist persons with a disability.

“Do you have, or does a loved one have a disability? Could the information about the disability be important to first responders? Complete our Disability Form and have this information available to police, rescue and fire before they arrive. The information will be added to our dispatch system and the dispatcher will have the information immediately and pass it on to the responding units.”

Traffic Enforcement

If you are having issues with traffic in your neighborhood complete our Traffic Enforcement Request form. Once received we will send a traffic unit to the area and patrol.